October 12, 2022
It’s a great time to go solar and a great time to work in solar. But even with new government support for renewable energy and promising early adoption by consumers, it’s important to keep in mind that solar sales teams still have the challenge of selling a product with limited demand. While we’re all hoping to see a boost in residential solar system installations, the fact remains that solar installers are facing more competition than ever for a small pool of consumers who are eligible to go solar. Meanwhile, the audience we are marketing to is changing, and evolving laws are making it increasingly difficult to dial and text consumers.
Heather Griffin, Co-CEO and President of Colossus, recently sat down with Convoso’s CEO and co-founder Nima Hakimi to discuss ways to capitalize on solar leads in this increasingly competitive industry. In case you missed anything or we’re not able to attend live, here is the webinar recording and a few highlights on market trends and utilizing technology to effectively market to consumers.
Residential solar market trends
The solar industry remains extremely competitive and seasonal. Even with the passage of the U.S. climate bill representing the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history, we’re just not seeing everyone going out and adopting solar.
The long-term extension of the personal income tax credit (ITC) for residential solar raised the ITC to 30% until 2032. This is a nice incentive for homeowners, but the truth is that even with tremendous confidence and interest in renewables – solar remains a complicated product. And installers still have to chase down eligible homeowners. There are a lot of different reasons why solar continues to be hard to sell: Many consumers just don’t fully understand how it works and have concerns about construction, new technology, financing, and how solar panels will look on their homes. A recent survey by Forbes Home cited the initial investment and upfront costs as the main deterrent for homeowners when considering switching to solar. The solar market is growing increasingly competitive for businesses, which gives consumers more choice but also introduces more confusion. This means homeowners have more options and often don’t know how to select a solar installer. Not to mention the majority of solar sales comes from door knocking and/or telemarketing – and most customers don’t prefer that customer journey.
Alignment with shifting demographics
Another challenge with selling solar comes from the changing demographics of U.S. homeowners. Boomers are no longer the largest segment of homeowners, with millennials now the predominant demographic and Gen Z following behind. So when you’re marketing to millennials and Gen Z, they may not respond to banner ads or pick up cold calls at the same rate as Boomers. So it’s important to reach your audiences the way they want to be reached.
This requires some sophistication and technology to take a more targeted approach along with a strategic shift in messaging that considers nuanced and segmented consumer segments.
And as if that’s not enough to throw at you, there are also increasingly strict regulations for consumer marketing – including evolving telemarketing laws that can be costly if for anyone not in compliance. We’re seeing TCPA class action lawsuits on the rise across the companies against companies for non-compliance and unsolicited robo-calls and robo-texts. To stay competitive, you will need to get your solar business aligned with these trends.
Technology for improving sales
There have been so many advancements in technology that have advanced how we market and sell solar. But one thing to remember about technology is you can set it and forget to optimize it.
What’s tricky for people to understand is that data doesn’t perform the same all the time. For example, there’s a hurricane in Florida, and you would think that would be a bad time to sell solar. But people are locked in their houses so they’re taking our phone calls. And you can monitor this in real-time on a list conversion report and see how it changes all the time every day, based on a number of different factors across the area.
So don’t be afraid to monitor your lead sources in real time and get granular – especially if you manage multiple territories. We know that performance by state can vary in solar and different demographics make it necessary to filter by zip codes. So if you’re in multiple states, what you’ll see is certain states performing at certain times. Or if you’re trying to load balance a schedule in Texas, you may have too many appointments in Houston and not enough appointments in Dallas, so you can turn on a zip filter, turn on all of your data, and load balance your solar queue.
Not all solar lead sources are created equal
So you need to know your sources, your states, and your customer profile. And you need to address your marketing to that to increase sales and enhance the customer journey. This is where it might make sense to partner with reputable lead generation companies to acquire qualified solar leads in your targeted areas. But know that not all lead gen companies are the same. As you do your due diligence and research, you may find that some companies may cost a little bit more, but their closing set rate is so much higher that it makes sense to partner with them. You’ll also need to ask questions about how they generate leads and what affiliates push traffic to their landing pages. And as always, you will have to look at how companies approach compliance too and ways they provide documentation of consent to market to consumers.
Colossus provides sales solutions built for the solar industry and partners with solar companies around their unique needs. To learn more about growing your residential solar sales, visit Colossus.com.
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